Glenn Beck no stranger to conspiracy theories or incendiary rhetoric

Fox News host Glenn Beck has become notorious for his conspiracy theories and incendiary rhetoric. Among other things, he has flirted with the idea that FEMA is building detention camps, suggested that President Obama is purposefully “tanking” the economy to force young people to work for ACORN and AmeriCorps, and said that Obama and former President George W. Bush are “moving us away from our republic and into a system of fascism.”

Beck flirts with the idea that FEMA is building detention camps

Beck: “I can't debunk” FEMA camps conspiracy theory. In March, Beck stated: “We are a country that is headed towards socialism, totalitarianism, beyond your wildest imagination. I have to tell you, I'm doing a story tonight that I wanted to debunk these FEMA camps.” Beck further stated: “I'm tired of hearing -- I wanted to debunk them. Well, we've now for several days done research on them. I can't debunk them. And we're going to carry the story tonight. ... [I]t is our government. If you trust our government, it's fine. If you have any kind of fear that we might be headed towards a totalitarian state, look out, buckle up. There is something going on in our country that is -- ain't good.” [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 3/3/09] (Beck eventually managed to “debunk” this theory.)

Beck fearmongers that Obama is “genius architect” bent on forcing people to work for ACORN, AmeriCorps

Beck says Obama “wants you to work as a bureaucratic slave to government.” From the July 24 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Well, if the jobs never go away, then why don't you we just raise the minimum wage to $50 an hour? How about $100 an hour? How about $1,000 an hour? That should solve some issues, right? Of course not.

That's why economists are estimating -- wait a minute, the same economists that we're supposed to be listening to about bailing people out? I'm not sure we should listen to them. They're estimating that at least 300,000 jobs will be lost due to the minimum wage hike. That's huge considering that only 2.8 million workers in America earn the minimum wage.

So, why would Obama support a policy that directly hurts young people -- especially nearly half of African-American teenagers, who are already unemployed? Well, it makes sense if you're trying to transform America.

When Obama comes out and says the stimulus is working as planned while the economy is tanking, people assume he's either an idiot or he's lying. I don't think he's either. I think the man is a genius architect, quite frankly, and on this particular case, he's telling the truth.

What happens when kids can't get a job? They become discouraged, disenfranchised. They look for somewhere to land, and guess who's now there to swoop in? President Obama -- tonight, strangely, in these really long jeans -- President Obama and his new government program -- programs and community service organizations, not just AmeriCorps -- not just ACORN, but now AmeriCorps.

Do you remember Michelle Obama's words on the campaign trail?

MICHELLE OBAMA [audio clip]: Barack Obama will require you to work. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual -- uninvolved, uninformed.

BECK: “Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual.” Are we to believe that she's kidding or just haphazardly stringing words together and they came out in a sentence?

These people are steering our youth into community service. Ted Kennedy and his ilk are even pushing the idea of forced mandatory service. They're incentivizing working for the government with promises now of paying off college loans -- we told you this last night.

Of course, the catch is you have to -- you have to federalize your loan before they'll pay it. He wants you to work as a bureaucratic slave to government. You work for them for 10 years, and you don't have to worry about any debt for education.

Maybe I'm crazy for going down this road, but from what we already know about Washington, the truth is always stranger than fiction, and the sooner we realize that, the faster we're going to be able to stop and go down the road paved with a couple of bricks of common sense.[Fox News' Glenn Beck, 7/24/09]

Beck: Maybe Treasury is “selling black-market bonds.” Discussing the reports of “two middle aged guys with Japanese passports who were stopped by Italian police after trying to enter Switzerland with $134.5 billion worth of U.S. treasury bonds,” Beck said, “And this story has not been in The New York Times yet. That's weird, isn't it? That's why we're left with speculation.” Among the possible “scenarios” that Beck explored was the possibility that "[t]he treasury or the Federal Reserve is selling black-market bonds or double-dealing some way or another." Beck explained:

And the fourth one [scenario] is really troubling. The treasury or the Federal Reserve is selling black-market bonds or double-dealing some way or another. Maybe because they know of the possible deflation of the dollar, they just can't -- they just can't sell this many bonds.

OK. The worst is if we're running another set of books. We are already running four sets of books in Washington, D.C., why would that surprise anybody? Hopefully, it's just keystone cops, but we don't know. These are guesses. No one is answering questions.

And if this story just dies, mark my word, America. Two years from now, when our dollar really starts to lose its value and we can't sell our bonds because we have too much debt and none of this stuff happen, it was keystone cops, this conspiracy theory will gain power. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 6/19/09 (transcript from the Nexis database)]

Beck imitates Obama pouring gasoline on “average American”; says, “President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire?” From the April 9 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: So what does Obama do, he says, boy, I'm not -- I'm just out of stuff to do. What else could I possibly do to the American people?

President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire? For the love of Pete, what are you doing? Do you not hear -- do you not hear the cries of people who are saying stop? We would like some sanity in our country for a second!

We didn't vote to lose the republic. We didn't vote for any of this stuff. We voted for change.


BECK: We can disagree with each other on policies, but Good Lord Almighty, man, please. Some of us don't agree with all of the policies. We'd like to have a country left in the end of four years. No need to set us on fire. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 4/9/09]


Beck sees fascism and communism everywhere

Beck: U.S. government under Bush and Obama moving us “into a system of fascism.” Beck said: “I am not saying that Barack Obama is a fascist. I'm not saying the Democrats are a fascist. I'm saying the government under Bush and under Obama and under -- under all of the presidents that we've seen, or at least most of the presidents that we've seen for quite some time, are slowly but surely moving us away from our republic and into a system of fascism.” [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 4/1/09]

Beck on health care: “This system is going to come out the other side dictorial -- it's going to come out a fascist state.” Beck told a caller: “Let me tell you something, the end game ... for Congress and this president -- and I don't know how many members of Congress even realize the game that they are either being used in or a pawn in. But believe me, they'll take ... the universal health care coverage over what ... skin they do have in it. They're going to come out -- this system is going to come out the other side dictorial [sic] -- it is going to come out a fascist state.” [Premiere Radio Network's The Glenn Beck Program, 7/27/09]

Beck: “You have the artwork of Mussolini there, here in New York at Rockefeller Plaza.” Beck analyzed the artwork decorating Rockefeller Plaza, and concluded, “So you have the hammer and the sickle. You have the artwork to Mussolini there, here in New York at Rockefeller Plaza.” Beck said of a decoration on the Rockefeller building:

So, let's just take it piece by piece, and I'll show you what this means.

First, the sun. The sun represents the bright tomorrow. Right here, underneath the boy, here is the sun. Show me the boy. This is the youth. The next one is the youth here, leading the way. Notice he is ahead of the horses. He's leading the way into the bright future of tomorrow.

Now, this man standing on a chariot, the wheel. The wheel is always representative of industry in any of these progressive pictures or paintings or artwork. So you've got the wheel. Now, let's go to the horses, please. He is standing on a chariot. You've got the industry and the engines of industry, but who's in the back here?

Let's show you his hand. This man's strong hand is holding on to the reins tightly here, holding back the engines of industry being led into the bright future of tomorrow by a young boy. Who is this? Who is this?

This is the strong leader taking that -- using that industry and those machines to lead us into the bright future led by our children. Gee, who's having indoctrination next week? Oh, yeah, that's right. The president. Completely unrelated.

This represents, at the time this was made, Mussolini. This was Mussolini. By the way, the artist that made this -- his son, ironically and tragically died fighting the army of Mussolini years after this was made. This still is up in Rockefeller Plaza.

So you have the hammer and the sickle. You have the artwork to Mussolini there, here in New York at Rockefeller Plaza. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 9/2/09]

Beck claims Obama's “civilian national security force” is “what Hitler did with the SS,” “what Saddam Hussein” did. Discussing Obama's “civilian national security force,” Beck said, “I'm finding this -- this is the hardest part to connect to, because this is -- I mean, look, you know, David [Bellavia, former Army staff sergeant], what you just said is, you said, ”I'm not comparing" -- but you are. I mean, this is what Hitler did with the SS. He had his own people. He had the brownshirts and then the SS. This is what Saddam Hussein -- so -- but you are comparing that. And I -- I mean, I think America would have a really hard time getting their arms around that." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 8/27/09]

As Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, Obama's comments about the necessity of a “civilian national security force” came from a July 2, 2008, speech on service and referred to expanding the foreign service, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps.

From Obama's July 2, 2008, speech in Colorado Springs, Colorado:

Today, AmeriCorps -- our nation's network of local, state, and national service programs -- has 75,000 slots. And I know firsthand the quality of these programs. My wife, Michelle, once left her job at a law firm and at City Hall to be a founding director of an AmeriCorps program in Chicago that trains young people for careers in public service. And these programs invest Americans in their communities and their country. They tap America's greatest resource -- our citizens.

And that's why as president, I will expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots and make that increased service a vehicle to meet national goals like providing health care and education, saving our planet and restoring our standing in the world, so that citizens see their efforts connected to a common purpose. People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem -- they are the answer.

So we are going to send -- we're going to send more college graduates to teach and mentor our young people. We'll call on Americans to join an Energy Corps to conduct renewable energy and environmental cleanup projects in their neighborhoods all across the country. We will enlist our veterans to find jobs and support for other vets, to be there for our military families. And we're going to grow our Foreign Service, open consulates that have been shuttered, and double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 to renew our diplomacy.

We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.

Beck suggests health care reform designed as a system of backdoor reparations

Beck says all of Obama's policies rooted in “reparations.” Beck said, “Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming America. And they are all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations.” Beck later added that Obama's “goal is creating a new America, a new model, a model that will settle old racial scores through new social justice.” [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 7/23/09]